Turncoats may ruin BJP’s prospects in Bengal

Turncoats may ruin BJP’s prospects in Bengal

Dependence on turncoats has brought to surface the glaring contrast between BJP's words and actions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by BJP leader Mukul Roy and party candidate from Barrackpore constituency Arjun Singh (R) during an election campaign rally for ongoing Lok Sabha polls, at Jilebi in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal on April 29, 2019. (PTI Photo)

The BJP has its eyes set on West Bengal as it is keen on making up for the potential loss of seats in the Hindi heartland states by increasing its tally in Bengal. However, the saffron party’s strategy of roping in leaders from other parties by engineering defection may boomerang for several reasons.

First, consider the reason behind the BJP’s defection-based poll strategy in the state. Despite its tall claims of ousting the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the BJP is yet to find a state leader who can take on the TMC supremo.

None of the Bengal BJP leaders has the mass following that Mamata enjoys, which to a large extent has been able to blunt the criticism against her party.

To resolve this leadership crisis, the BJP has attempted to rope in leaders from other parties and field them as candidates. But the dependence on turncoats has brought to surface the glaring contrast between its words and actions.

Whether it's Prime Minister Narendra Modi or party president Amit Shah, all BJP leaders are roaring to put those accused in the chit fund scam behind bars if they return to power. But the state BJP’s key strategist Mukul Roy, a former TMC general secretary, was interrogated by the CBI in relation to the scam.

Further, BJP’s latest induction from TMC and its candidate from Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency, Arjun Singh, has also weakened the saffron party’s strategy.

Since both the BJP and RSS recently accused Singh of using strong-arm tactics, its decision to field him has raised a lot of eyebrows among local voters.

What's even more ironic is the BJP’s choice of candidate from the Cooch Behar seat. The ruling party at the Centre, which repeatedly accuses TMC of corruption and criminal activities has fielded Nisith Pramanik, a former TMC leader who has 11 declared criminal cases against him, including serious charges such as attempt to murder. There is severe discontent against Pramanik among local BJP workers in Cooch Behar.

BJP’s decision to field former CPM MLA Khagen Murmu from Malda North constituency has also not gone down well with party workers. It has also fielded former Congress leader Nilanjan Roy from the Diamond Harbour seat.

For a party which repeatedly gives a call for a “Congress-free India” and “TMC-free Bengal”, reliance on turncoats may deal a severe blow to its poll prospects in the state.